comfort · Finding joy · Seasons

Comfort

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For what it’s worth, I had a couple rough days this week. Nothing earth-shattering. I didn’t lose my job or any friends. I didn’t break a bone or drop some priceless personal artifact. Newp. Nothing that would register on the scale of painful loss. But there was a moment when I pondered walking away from everything I know.

Everything.

The two things I dread the most are days when I’m looking for an exit strategy and the days where it seems like color has disappeared from, well … everything.

Last year there were a string of days where it seemed like color had drained out of the whole city of Auburn. I drove through town and everyone looked sad. Nothing popped. People looked tired and empty. The greens weren’t green, the blues weren’t blue. And all the yellow of memory, was gone altogether.  Pretty sure I was projecting, but it was a hard few days.

So this week when things seemed particularly challenging, I sought out some comfort.

Comfort. Now there’s a thing that wears a lot of hats …

I started thinking about the things that used to comfort me growing up. Food was always like the big easy. If I needed to feel better, there was always cooked vanilla pudding. Or vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce that we enjoyed most nights while watching Mod Squad, or Room 222 or Get Smart. Most mornings mom made oatmeal or Malt-o-Meal or we had cold cereal, but SOME mornings, she made the best dollar size pancakes. In fact, even in high school, my friend who picked me up for school would arrive early on pancake day.

Comfort food : Campbell’s Tomato Soup with lots of butter and black pepper. Cream puffs (filled with that cooked vanilla pudding). Hamburger pizza, where the hamburger is the crust and the filling is sharp cheddar cheese and thick-sliced olives. Tuna-noodle casserole with lots of melted cheddar and no peas. Grilled cheese sandwiches (comfort=cheese, apparently) and simmered-all-day homemade spaghetti sauce. There is probably nothing more comforting than Mom’s chocolate chip cookies. I’ve tried to make them myself, with her recipe, but they never taste the same. She still makes them today and they still taste like love.

But there are other comforting things. I remember how much I loved our long drives home from Lake Tapps or Ballard. There is something about the hum of the station wagon, flickering lights and the bumps of the road. I either fell fast asleep or I was in that state between sleep and dream. I loved it. And some nights I pretended to be asleep so Dad would carry me into the house and upstairs to bed. Comfort.

My grandmother used to get “pinches” of sugar from our cheeks. My Mom carried on that tradition with Natalie and I even took a turn at “cheek-pincher” with Blake on a wonderful trip to Maui with the family . In fact, the comfort things of my childhood found their sweet, mesmerizing way into our time with Nat & Blake often. On that same trip, “calm and coral” was born. It was just a whispered phrase that calmed the kids down, then led to giggles and full-on laughter. As they grew older, our comfort was found in the dim light of their wildly colorful room and “relaxation”. It was my own meditation technique that would lead them into deep sleep. They would ask for it every sleep-over. It’s one of many things I miss so much.

But here is the most comforting thing I know :

” making rainbows”

I think we may have called it something different when I was young. ” Making circles” seems to be familiar.

Fingertips to the back.

Fingertips swirling on the belly.

Fingertips to the softest curves on a face.

The lightest, softest touch. There is something about this gentle human contact that creates waves of comfort. It is honoring another. Asking for it, honors ourselves.

I’m looking ahead to a new week. A week that celebrates whatever colors I can find. A week that finds me nesting, or at least content. A week that I can celebrate the connections made during my work day and ignore the nonsense that makes me want to take a long drive away from Bellevue in the hour between 6 and 7. I’m hopeful that my aches and pains will find new relief and my new food plan will begin to help, rather than harm, me. I’m looking ahead and I’m hopeful. I’ll imagine “rainbows” and relax into all that is ..

 

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